Erling Haaland didn’t even consider Manchester United when he was weighing up which club to join in the summer.
A documentary – titled The Big Decision – on Scandinavian streaming service Viaplay shed light on the process that led to Haaland choosing Manchester City as his next club after deciding to leave Borussia Dortmund.
His dad, former City player Alfe-Inge Haaland, revealed he and his son devised a points system based on criteria, such as whether the club needed a No.9 to rank the centre forward’s suitors.
By the end of February this year, seven clubs were in the running to sign the forward – but United were not one of them.
“On our list, I think City is the best team,” Alfe-Inge said in the film, as quoted by The Times, a few months before his son made his decision.
“[Bayern] Munich is number two. We have Real Madrid as number three, Paris Saint-Germain as number four.
“We also have some English teams other than City who are quite good . . . Liverpool and Chelsea. Also, there is Barcelona. They are sort of in the same row.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who coached Haaland at Norwegian side Molde, tried to bring the striker to Man United when he left RB Salzburg in January 2020.
However, the club pulled out of the race after refusing to accept the £51million release clause that was then inserted into his Dortmund contract.
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The documentary also reveals the manager of his next club was not part of the points system.
“I have never transferred to a club because of the manager,” Haaland said. “But it is a big plus with [Pep] Guardiola at City, he is the best manager in the world.”
Other criteria included the club’s playing style, their history and stadium capacity.
The report adds rankings were updated regularly last season and in the final standings Man City only just finished ahead of the second-ranked team, believed to be Real Madrid.
“I think it was one point separating the top two with the last calculations,” Alfe-Inge said.
City needing to sign a striker, questions over Robert Lewandowski’s future and the transfer uncertainty over Kylian Mbappe also impacted the decision.
“One of the criteria is about whether the club needs a no.9,” Haaland Sr. said in spring.
“City is ten [out of ten] in that respect. Bayern Munich gets one point for that, they don’t need a no.9. They have their best player as a no.9, but if [Lewandowski] goes, then they have no one else.
“It would have been quite controversial to go to Munich but when we go through it, it’s one of the best teams. Real Madrid are a five or six [out of ten]. They have [Karim] Benzema, and will they get [Kylian] Mbappe?”
Haaland admitted the importance of the decision meant he struggled to sleep and also revealed that when Dortmund faced City in the Champions League in April 2021, plenty of opponents tried to butter him up for an Etihad switch.
“After the game, I think 15 people said I should come,” he said. “[John] Stones and Ruben Dias, [Ilkay] Gundogan, [Phil] Foden, [Kevin] De Bruyne.”
Haaland has made an electric start to life at City, scoring 14 goals in his first nine matches. However, City and the Premier League may not be the final destination in what promises to be an outstanding career.
“I think Erling wants to test out his capabilities in every league. Then he can stay in every league for three to four years maximum,” Alfe-Inge said.
“He could have two-and-a-half years in Germany, two-and-a-half in England, and then in Spain, Italy, France, right?” he added, with a laugh.
“We do not know if it will be like that, but I think he would like to test his abilities in the big leagues.”
Haaland denied he joined City because they offered him the highest salary but conceded that money is an important part of his life.
“When I was a young boy, like everyone, I dreamt about becoming the best footballer in the world and making a living off it,” Haaland, who earns a reported £400,000 per week, said.
“Now I do. I think money is important for everyone in this world.
“To make the most money, that is not the main focus, but you would like to make as much as possible. If you can get 5,000 Norwegian krone (about £420) to do a job or 10,000 to do the same job, you take the 10,000. Everyone would do that. I have dreamt about playing football and to live on that for the rest of my life.”
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